It was not that long ago that Todd Gurley had a remarkable season and the Los Angeles Rams’ running game seemed perfect. Now, there are some questions that must be answered.
The Los Angeles Rams go into the offseason with some decisions that need to be made and none more important than how they should approach their running back situation. Todd Gurley was the lead back for the majority of the year with Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson as backup options. However, his usage was mesmerizing for the majority of the season.
Therefore, the Los Angeles Rams have two options for their running back situation.
Option 1: Keep Gurley, but maintain his regular usage from the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Gurley is being paid like a top-tier option at running back only behind Ezekiel Elliot. However, he was not used as much as the previous years due to a knee injury the team says they needed to manage. If the Rams do indeed to keep Gurley fresh due to his knee injury, they should rotate him out a series here and there.
What is completely baffling is that Gurley only got 20+ carries in 3 games this year, and never even cracked 100 rushing yards in any game. He received only 223 carries, which is the lowest of his career. His YPC was only 3.8, which was his lowest since 2016 when he only had 3.2 YPC.
Furthermore, the star running back only had 31 receptions for the year, and besides a 7-reception game in a Week 4 shootout against the Bucs, he only had 24 receptions in the other 14 games. Gurley is at his best when he was used in the passing game consistently, like in the previous two seasons when he recorded 64 and 59 receptions respectively.
Gurley’s contract extension will be going to go into effect in the upcoming 2020 season, so the Rams need to rediscover how to use him.
Option 2: Cut/Trade Gurley, and Use a tandem of Malcolm Brown and Darrel Henderson at Running Back
This is more than likely not to happen, but it could if the Los Angeles Rams need to make space to sign free agents or keep players in house who need new contracts soon; most notably Dante Fowler Jr and Jalen Ramsey, who is only signed for only 1 more season.
In the event it does happen, the Rams could roll with Malcolm Brown and Darrel Henderson as their 1a and 1b backs.
Malcolm Brown could be used as the early-down back while Henderson would be used as the third-down passing back.
Brown had only a 3.7 YPC this season but was used on certain series early in the season in an effort to keep Gurley fresh. He is only signed for one more season, but for an affordable $1 million.
Henderson will be in his second season on his rookie contract but is largely unproven as he had only 39 carries in his 2019 season, and only 4 catches.
What the Rams should do:
The Rams should keep Gurley for this season, and see how his health holds up for the season as well as if he produces as he did in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. They are simply paying him way too much to cut him and have a lot of dead money, and he is too valuable to team chemistry to trade him.
However, if he misses games or deems ineffective in the 2020 season, the Rams need to seriously consider letting him go in the 2021 season.